I grew up watching Ohio State play football. I suppose I was watching them play as a young boy in Greenville, Ohio before I even knew what football was.
My mom once told me, “You can take the boy out of Ohio (I live in Texas now), but you cannot take Ohio out of the boy.” So true, mom, so true.
For those of you who follow college football know last year didn’t end well for my beloved Buckeyes as we were embarrassed 41-14 by the University of Florida in the National Championship game.
It was a hard night for me and while most people were angry at Troy Smith and Jim Tressel I just felt so badly for them. I mean these kids and coaches dedicated so many hours of sweat and pain only to get clobbered on national TV. It may sound corny but I really felt bad for the kids.
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My favorite Ohio State website, The Ozone, recently carried an excellent article touching on the season to be. Jim Tressel, OSU’s coach, is a brilliant and honorable man (and 5-1 against Michigan) and said some things we can all learn from.
But before getting to Tressel’s comments let’s start with the attitude of the team as experienced by the reporter.
“It’s hard to explain, but it’s almost as much what you don’t see and hear as what you do. You don’t hear braggadocio, but you hear confidence. You hear a few obligatory cliches in conversation, but more often than not, you get sincere conversation and an honest attempt to answer questions.”
There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence. You must have the latter but if the former creeps in you could be in big trouble!
“The words that come to mind to describe the attitude of the Buckeyes is focused and hungry. This team seems like a team that knows what it wants and is very intent on doing all the things it takes to get it, including recognition of its own weaknesses and the need to improve on them.”
The last sentence is the key to me. No matter if you play football or run a company you better humble yourself enough to know what you need to get better at.
Now let’s here from Senator Tressel himself.
“You look at that 2002 team we had, we certainly weren’t at championship level early in the year, but we survived then got to championship level.
“Probably early in the year this past year Florida wasn’t at championship level, won a couple of tough ones which kept them in the hunt, then got to championship level, then they deserved to be champions.”
Those two teams had something in common. They were hungry and they were willing to do what it took to get better. They recognized the need to get better and went about the business of doing just that.
In high school my wrestling coach used to tell us, “It doesn’t matter where you start, all that matters is where you end.”
If your company or plant is the furthest thing from a lean Toyota-like machine who cares! Today is a new day. Pick up a book or email me or some other experienced practitioner and start your journey today. It will take hard work and sacrifice but what doesn’t.
Finally, Jon Miller recently shared a quote from Taiichi Ohno that fits so well with a final Tressel quote.
Ohno said, “You are a fool if you do just as I say. You are a greater fool if you don’t do as I say. You should think for yourself and come up with better ideas than mine.”
Here is what Tressel says.
You have to have them very disciplined, but on the other hand they need to feel the freedom to let it rip. “We always tell them ‘Let it happen. We’ve coached you, we’ve micro-managed you, but now let it rip, make it happen.’ This group really wants to do well,” Tressel added.
Well said coach! My official prediction for the 2007-2008 Buckeyes is we go 9-3 as we rebuild and prepare for another National Championship run in 2008-2009.
I say “we” since I will be watching every game on satellite TV and it looks like I will even be at the ‘THE GAME’ in November as a colleague from Michigan scored me a ticket to the OSU – UM game in Ann Arbor.
It could be a blood bath as Michigan looks to be tough this year… but hey we have the sweater vest man himself on our side so I will take my chances.
Game on brutha!